Wednesday, October 8, 2014

INNOCENT TRAITOR: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir

A Novel of Lady Jane Grey
Alison Weir

As the book’s subtitle tells us, Innocent Traitor is a novel about Lady Jane Grey. It is one of Alison Weir’s few historical novels; in fact, it was her debut novel.

            Innocent Traitor follows Jane Grey’s life, from her birth in October 1537 through her execution in February 1554 at the age of sixteen. Jane Grey was the granddaughter of Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII. She was the oldest of three daughters of Frances Brandon (Mary Tudor’s daughter) and Henry Grey.

            Jane Grey was bright and extremely well educated. She was also very Protestant. When she was born, her parents dealt with their disappointment in not having a son by planning her marriage to the future king, her cousin Edward.

            According to Innocent Traitor, her parents were cold, calculating, devious, and power hungry. Jane was simply their pawn in their biggest grab for power ever. Everything that they did for, with, and to Jane was to further their goal of having her marry the future King Edward VI. When Edward died at the age of sixteen, the plot needed to be modified. Instead of marrying the young king, the Protestant Jane would become queen.

Their plot was successful, and Jane was queen of England for nine days, when Henry VIII’s daughter Mary demanded the throne. The lords backed the Catholic Mary, the Lady Jane was held in the tower, and her execution was subsequently carried out.

            The story of Jane Grey’s life and the devious machinations going on around her are interesting – and sad. Although I liked this book, I did not find the writing to be more than adequate, and, despite the author’s note at the end, I am still left wondering about the historical accuracy of much of the book.


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